Labour Standards in a Globalised EconomySymposium

How can customers promote labour standards?

A realistic view on the capacity of social labelling Among the most important forms of private initiatives for the protection and promotion of labour standards are social labelling schemes implemented by NGOs. These are for example Goodweave (formerly known as Rugmark), Fairtrade and the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). Social labelling schemes have been spreading rapidly since the 1990s and the academic debate has grown along with it. The controversial question …

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Labour Standards in a Globalised EconomySymposium

Individual labour complaint procedures in future free trade agreements?

In their posts, Tonia Novitz and Patrick Abel mention the idea of enhancing the procedural role for individuals in labour disputes as a means to foster the enforcement of labour provisions in international trade agreements. In this post, I will enquire whether individuals should be given an opportunity to pursue their claims in an individual complaints procedure for labour matters in the context of free trade agreements (FTAs), rather than …

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Labour Standards in a Globalised EconomySymposium

Systemic deficiencies of US FTAs’ arbitral labour dispute settlement procedures

The lack of arbitral practice has been the subject of intense analysis in international economic law.

Deciding international disputes solely on the basis of law while excluding economic and political aspects of power, at least to a large extent, is a concept which can suit arguments between powerful and less powerful states. From this perspective, US free trade agreements are an interesting research topic. Remarkably, from earlier FTAs such as the NAFTA labour side agreement, the North American Agreement on Labour Cooperation (NAALC), to more recent FTAs …

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Labour Standards in a Globalised EconomySymposium

Transcending the ‘buddy vs bully’ debate in light of the TTIP negotiations

A debate on linking labour rights and trade.

The EU and US trade-labour linkage Although the debate on linking labour rights and trade has a long history, the topic has become more prominent than ever in the last couple of years. Concerns expressed about the trade-labour linkage in the case of Colombia and debates about the protection of labour rights in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) are topical examples. While both the EU and the US …

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Labour Standards in a Globalised EconomySymposium

What’s in a name? Labour Rights between Human Rights and Sustainable Development

‘Tis but thy name that is my enemy; … What’s in a name? that which we call a rose By any other name would smell as sweet;’ William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet, Act I, Scene 2 Labour standards have long been recognised as relevant to the terms of trade, given fears of unfair competition and even ‘social dumping’. However, labour standards rarely receive protection in trade instruments per se. They have …

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Labour Standards in a Globalised EconomySymposium

The ILO, its standards and their supervision: difficult times?

The International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) mandate to pursue social justice through the improvement of the conditions of workers worldwide is clearly as relevant now as it was when the Organisation was founded in 1919. Deficient working conditions are still creating immense human suffering, generating injustice and threatening stability. Amongst the initiatives taken to assist it in its mandate, the ILO has produced an impressive number of conventions, protocols and recommendations …

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Labour Standards in a Globalised EconomySymposium

Symposium: Labour Standards in a Globalised Economy

From 19-23 October 2015, EU and US negotiators met in Florida for the 11th round of bilateral negotiations on the envisaged Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). What is often referred to as the largest free trade agreement in history is actually far more than that: The agenda encompasses not only ‘traditional’ trade barriers ‘at the border’, but also wide-ranging provisions on domestic regulation and regulatory cooperation as well as …

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